“Ve must get you ready quickly,” she said, helping me to my feet again. “I don’t want Olaf to have any reason to put you back in confinement.”

“I’m afraid, Willa.”

“I know, Freedrik. I know.”

She kissed me lightly on the cheek and wasted no time getting me into the bath. She was always so careful with me, just as she was with all of the boys who were placed in her care. And she never violated me. She cleaned every part of my body with a caring touch. I never wanted to leave her room whenever I was there, but I would always be whisked away soon after, to avoid suspicion and to make certain that Willa maintained her place as head servant.

After I was bathed and dressed in a clean white T-shirt and a pair of khaki pants, Willa hugged me goodbye as the kind and loving young girl, before taking me back out into the hall as the girl with the iron fist.

Minutes later, she was gone and I was back in the company of Olaf, who seemed to be waiting eagerly for me in his too-small suit and headache-inducing cologne.

“Before I take you to your new quarters,” Olaf said walking beside me with his hands resting folded on his backside, “there is something you need to see.”

I didn’t like the sound of that. Already my legs felt shaky, my stomach queasy and tied up in knots. I inhaled a deep breath and remained silent with my eyes facing forward.

“Do you remember when I punished you long ago for forgetting to brush your teeth?” he asked.

I nod. “Yes, sir.”

How could I forget? He brushed them for me in such a violent manner that the toothbrush had been shoved into the back of my throat numerous times, and he scrubbed my gums so hard that they bled for three days afterwards.

We turned left at the end of the hall and came upon a door.

I heard screaming inside and my legs began to shake more noticeably.

Olaf placed his weathered hand on the lever-style handle and said, “This is what will happen to you if your teeth become damaged, or diseased, or grow in crookedly after the old ones have fallen out. You’ve been lucky so far to be blessed with good teeth. Let’s hope it stays that way. You will become a young man soon, in your prime, and how your body begins to take shape now will be with you forever. If any part of it isn’t satisfactory, you’ll face extensive cosmetic corrections, or, depending on how well you are fancied by myself or another Master, you could be disposed of.”

My heart sank and my knees began to buckle, but I straightened up quickly.

He pushed open the door and the screams escaped the room in a whirlwind as if they had been waiting on the other side of that door to be set free. I wanted to cover my ears with my hands, but I knew better than to try. I knew to remain standing with my back straight, my eyes lowered and my arms either down at my sides or placed on my backside like Olaf was standing. I opted for folding my hands together behind me so that I could at least dig my fingers into one another as a way to cope and distract from the screams. They echoed vociferously through the moderately-sized room with high vaulted ceilings. I could smell blood. Bitter and stout, as clearly as if my face had been shoved in a pool of it. I had always had an unfortunate strong sense of smell that I often thought of as a curse. Especially in times like these.

Olaf guided me into another room adjacent to the main room where a boy, older than me and probably Willa’s age, was strapped to a strange-looking chair that allowed his legs to stretch out in front of him elevated evenly with the rest of his body. His blond head was strapped against a headrest by a thick piece of leather, like his torso and his ankles and his arms, which were laying out straight against the chair arms and bound at the wrists.

The boy thrashed about in the chair, though he could hardly move. Blood spilled out over his chin, crimson and sticky. His hair was drenched in sweat. His eyes were wide and frightened.

I wanted to throw up. I wanted to run out of that room as fast as I could, to hide in Willa’s room and hope to never be found but by her so that she could hold me against her br**sts and comfort me.

But I could do nothing.

A man with curly gray hair, wearing a white lab coat stood over the boy with a pair of pliers in his hand, covered in blood. He didn’t even wear gloves. I got a dark feeling from that man, even worse than the one I got from Olaf. This man liked blood. The smell of it. The mesmerizing crimson color of it. The thickness of it. The taste of it. But most of all, I could sense that he loved drawing it, in any way possible. This man frightened me more than Olaf ever could.

“Is this the little jackal?” the man asked.

“Yes, this is Fredrik.”

“Good, good,” the man said and caught my eyes with a spine-chilling smile.

I didn’t want to look at him, and I wasn’t supposed to, but I couldn’t help it. Thankfully he didn’t feel any need to have me reprimanded for the mistake. No, this man was beyond beatings and punishment. His mind danced in Death’s realm too much to be bothered with such petty things.

He turned back to the frightened teenaged boy strapped in the chair and inserted the pliers into his mouth. The boy grunted and tried to scream while attempting to bite down on the pliers at the same time. But the man grabbed his lower jaw with the other hand and forced his mouth open.

My hands were shaking on my backside. Bile churned violently in my stomach. I started to look away until I remembered promptly that if Olaf noticed, he’d punish me.

The pliers wrenched back and forth, side to side, and a bloodcurdling sound of bone crunching almost made me faint. My knees began to buckle again, but this time I wasn’t able to control them and I felt Olaf’s hand around my elbow, catching me before I hit the floor.

I gathered my composure quickly and stood up straight, my breathing heavy and rapid, my hands trembling now down at my sides.

The man jerked the tooth from the boy’s bleeding mouth and dropped it on the floor.

And then he went to work on another one.

By the fifth tooth, I could no longer stand up on my own.

I can’t look at Cassia. My chest is heavy with the memory, a weight so oppressive and unforgiving that I’m still surprised every day of my life that it hasn’t killed me yet. I still have the nightmares. I still wake up in a feverish sweat, so tormented by the faces—those evil, those incapacitated—that I believe I’m living it all over again. And in my reality, it makes my need that much greater. It makes my addiction that much more dangerous. All-consuming.

I will never stop. I can never stop.

The past has shaped me, molded me into a monster. A monster with a persecuted heart and a dead soul.

Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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